The Anticipation is Real - UCI's Quarterly Vendor Fair

The Anticipation is Real - UCI's Quarterly Vendor Fair


If it’s Week 3 and you find yourself walking through Ring Road, smelling spicy scents, see tents on either side of you, and a flurry of colors, animated characters, fabrics, hummus, gems, clothes, dreamcatchers and sweet treats, then you, my friend, have just stepped into UCI’s quarterly vendor fair.

On the third week of every quarter, UCI invites local food stands, crafters and retailers to set up shop along Ring Road for a week, to which their goods are available to us, UCI students, to buy and enjoy.

The range of products that are sold during the fair spans a pretty large spectrum from healing stones and crystals to Mediterranean hummus to anime plushies and everything else in between. Every vendor stand has a purpose, and depending on what you’re looking for, there is most likely a tent for you to browse while you’re on the way to class.

If you’re in the market for decorating your college space...

Looking to spice up your room? There are tents filled to the brim with posters and wall art, varying from Japanese artwork and Frida Kahlo to Dragon Ball Z and Cardi B album art. Or, if you prefer a more earthy and natural vibe, like myself, there is also the well-known tapestry stand that has some of the most beautiful patterns and prints I’ve ever seen. Rainbow mandalas, extravagant elephants and swirling moons and suns are just a few of the designs that you can find on the tapestries hanging from all corners of the tent. Available in so many different colors, shapes, designs and sizes, it’s almost impossible to not want to stop and admire them!

If you like collectibles…

If you’re more of a collector of all things anime, pop culture and video games, there’s a tent for that as well! I had actually never stepped into that vendor stand before this quarter, but it was definitely a cool place to check out! Along the tent walls were art prints of Naruto, Dragon Ball Z, Star Wars, and Marvel heroes followed by life-size replicas of the Hylian Shield from the Legend of Zelda and keyblades from Kingdom Hearts. There were also smaller items that caught my eye, such as Rick and Morty plush toys, anime character keychains and stickers, and even mini cartoon figurines. Also, if you’re a fan of Funko Pop collectibles, this is the vendor stand for you!

If you want to update your wardrobe…

There’s no need to go all the way to Irvine Spectrum when the vendor fair is open! Okay, just kidding, but if you are looking for a couple cute t-shirts and patterned pants for a decent price, the large clothes tent is a quick and easy place to shop! The vendor usually carries a good variety of tank tops, shirts, leggings, and sweaters. They also carry a range of headbands and jewelry if the clothes isn’t much of your style. Other tents further down Ring Road are the hub for all things trendy, as it sells plenty of embroidered dad hats, jewelry, scarves and sunglasses, including clout goggles if that’s your vibe.

If you’re into spirituality and healing…

One of my favorite tents at the vendor fair is one that I see every quarter and I still stop to browse it every time. A local craftsman in the OC, this vendor is a seller of natural healing stones and gems, that can be great remedy for you if you use spirituality and natural energy to help with anxiety, stress, etc. Ranging from pyrite, amethyst and rose quartz, the vendor is always willing to converse and find the right stone for you and for a little extra, will even create the gem of your choice into a necklace. Right next to it, you can also find more gemstone jewelry made locally by another vendor, as well as beautifully handcrafted dream catchers if you suffer from nightmares and believe they will help you.

And lastly, if you’re just hungry…

Being in the OC, there isn’t always the most readily available Mexican food around, and having a burrito booth right on Ring Road is definitely a nice treat. But more than burritos, there’s a variety of foods available to grab a bite in between classes. The Korean BBQ tent, which sells bulgogi fries, rice cakes and boba, almost always has a line from when it opens until it closes. There’s a freshly popped kettle corn booth whose buttery scent fills your nose every time you walk past it. Right next door is a bundt cake tent that is here every quarter and never fails to sell out no matter how many cakes they bring. And my personal favorite: the hummus tent, which not only has over 10 flavors of hummus to choose from, also allows you to sample the flavors as well. It’s a win-win for everybody.

Whether you’re actually looking to purchase or just window (tent) shop, the UCI vendor fair is a tradition that I hope UCI never gives up, even though my wallet probably wishes it would.

And I must admit that I, myself, have my own tradition at the vendor fair. Every quarter, you can catch me at the handmade jewelry tent perusing the beaded anklets. Before I came to UCI, I owned 0 anklets. Thanks to the UCI vendor fair, I now own 7—one for every quarter I’ve been here.

Late Night at the ARC

Late Night at the ARC

ASUCI, For the Anteaters, By the Anteaters

ASUCI, For the Anteaters, By the Anteaters